July An Important Month to Recruiting Efforts

Bloomington – As the July recruiting period inches closer, IU Coach Tom Crean knows he's behind.

Bloomington – As the July recruiting period inches closer, IU Coach Tom Crean knows he's behind.

A change in the NCAA rules kept Crean and other Division I coaches away from the high profile AAU events in April. Crean considers that early period the most important of the off-season because of the opportunity it provides to get good player evaluations, but the legislation change is cutting into the number of prospects coaches are able to see in the spring.

"I think for us, I know we're not where we want to be as far as everyone that we'd like to be in on for the evaluations that we'd like to have, and April is part of that," Crean said.

But that's not the only reason Crean thinks he's a little behind. When he first arrived on the job he inherited a program that was in such disarray that he had to focus nearly all of his time last spring and summer on the 2008 and 2009 recruiting classes. The results were positive, as Crean's staff signed five additional '08 players in the spring of '08 and then six members of an '09 class that is ranked among the nation's best.

But with all of those efforts being placed on '08 and '09, Crean and his staff are now playing some catch up with some of the younger classes both as far as evaluating players and building relationships with the prospects.

"It will be very important, especially this first period, to not only get out and be visible to the guys we want to be visible to, but also to sit down and make some strong evaluations," Crean said.

While evaluating prospects in the 2010, 2011, 2012 and even 2013 classes will be top priorities in July, Crean and his staff aren't forgetting about the 2009 class. While Jordan Hulls, Derek Elston, Bobby Capobianco and Christian Watford are already on campus preparing for their freshman seasons, fellow signees Maurice Creek and Bawa Muniru have yet to arrive while they work to fulfill their academic obligations to be eligible this fall.

Crean isn't forgetting that duo in his July plans. In fact, members of the IU staff are making regular trips to see both players to check in and see how they are doing this summer.

"With Bawa and Maurice, we're being sure to get out and see those guys," Crean said. "Every week or 10 days, I want one of us to be in there."

Crean said IU Assistant Coach Roshown McLeod traveled to see Muniru on Monday, while IU assistant Bennie Seltzer headed out East to see Creek on the same day.

"It's a chance to monitor how they're doing, to keep them engaged and to make sure they know how much we care and look forward to having them here," Crean said.

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